Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Bankruptcy Court Declares DOMA Unconstitutional

The US Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California addressed the Defense of Marriage Act in a ruling prompted by the joint bankruptcy filing submitted by a gay couple legally married in 2008 in that state.

 Gene Balas and Carlos Morales asked Judge Thomas Donovan to dismiss the bankruptcy petition under the statutes of DOMA, prompting the forward-thinking judge to declare DOMA unconstitutional.  The law, he stated, violates the equal protection guarantee of the US Constitution. 

From the LATimes:

"Legal analysts said the ruling could have broad implications for gay spouses seeking equal treatment from federal agencies because it adds weight to two other federal court rulings in Massachusetts last year making their way through the appeals process.

The rulings last July by U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro dealt only with the law as it affects Massachusetts residents, and Monday's ruling by the Los Angeles bankruptcy court was likewise specific to the local case. But the rulings are seen as bellwethers for the possible extension of federal benefits to gay spouses in states where such marriages are legal, including the estimated 18,000 gay couples who wed in California in 2008."

Donovan even went beyond the decision in his finding, citing civil rights cases over the past 50 years and generally tearing DOMA a new asshole.  Congrats-- I guess?  How do you congratulate someone on bankruptcy?-- to gay Californians in yet another tiny step to equality.

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